George Santos is in plea negotiations with federal prosecutors

Former U.S. Rep. George Santos is in negotiations to resolve his federal criminal fraud case, prosecutors said in a court filing Monday.

“The parties are currently engaged in plea negotiations with the goal of resolving this matter without the need for a trial,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace's office wrote in the filing.

Santos will appear in court on Long Island on Tuesday for a hearing in the case. He acknowledged in an interview broadcast on Sunday that he had not ruled out pleading guilty.

“The trial will not last until September and a plea is not yet off the table. So there are clearly conversations happening, especially after what happened in Congress, and we'll see,” he said in the interview with CBS 2, referring to his expulsion from Congress earlier this month.

When asked if he is afraid of going to prison, Santos replied: “I think everyone should be afraid of going to prison. It's not a pretty place and I definitely want to work very hard to avoid that as best I can.”

Prosecutors said in Monday's filing that they are also seeking an earlier trial date in case negotiations do not lead to a deal. The request is opposed by Santos' attorney, who did not respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

Santos faces a slew of allegations that he defrauded donors to his campaign, lied to Congress about his wealth, collected unemployment benefits while employed and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses such as designer clothing. He pleaded not guilty in October to additional charges that he made tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges to credit cards of some of his campaign donors.

Santos has wasted no time in trying to cash in on his infamy since becoming only the sixth lawmaker in history to be ejected by colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, a move that gave Republicans a razor-thin majority in the chamber.

The 35-year-old Queens resident launched an account on the website Cameo, where the public can pay him for a personalized video message. In the television interview, Santos said he made more money in a week on the platform than his annual salary as a congressman.

Santos was touted as a rising star after turning around the suburb covering Long Island's affluent North Shore and part of the New York borough of Queens last year.

But his life story unraveled before he was even sworn in: Reports showed he had lied about his Jewish heritage, a career at top Wall Street firms and a college degree, among other things.

A special election will be held on February 13 to choose his successor to the House of Representatives. That race will likely pit former U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat who previously held the seat before running unsuccessfully for governor, against one of a number of Republicans.


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